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david robertson

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About david robertson

  • Birthday 06/08/1948

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    Full-time restorer and tuner of concertinas, part-time abuser of a 38k Jeffries Anglo. I also arrange for and sing with a 3-part harmony group called Poacher.
  • Location
    Norwich, England

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Chatty concertinist

Chatty concertinist (4/6)

  1. Whatever the truth of its history, its appeal to the beetles makes it rather less appealing to me. Big flight-holes too! Reminds me of one I once bought from Peru, whose frames consisted of veneer on the outside, a wafer-thin sliver of timber on the inside, and nothing much in between. One particularly industrious grub had chewed an impressively straight line through every fold of the bellows. If anyone else is brave enough to take this one on, it's in Gorringes sale in Lewes on the 18th of this month.
  2. OK, we have a serial number stamped in the reed pan, and inked on the back of the action box... looks like 2013 (or possibly 6). It has a pair of squeakers fitted close to the centre of the left-hand reed pan, so I guess it may also have a whistle on the other end. It also has significant damage by wood-boring insects, which makes me wonder if it started life as a wooden-ended instrument, converted to metal ends when the fretwork began to wriggle under the player's hands?
  3. The plot thickens! The auctioneer describes the pivots as looking like the staples he uses for attaching wire to fence-posts! Did Lachenal ever use staples rather than slotted plates? Tomorrow he's going to bring a screwdriver to work, and we'll play hunt the serial number!
  4. Thank you all for your suggestions. I do realise that a serial number and a view of the internals would be helpful, but the instrument currently resides with an auction house in Lewes. I'll call them and see if they'll send me some more pictures.
  5. True, the edges are suspiciously un-stepped, but it's far from being a home-made horror. I'd be a happy man if I could muster this kind of skill and fluency with a scrollsaw!
  6. Leaving aside the engraving round the edges, which I guess could have been added at any time, would anyone care to hazard a guess at the maker of this concertina? It's a 36-button Anglo, with Lachenal-style green white and gold papers, and gold-tooled bellows ends... but I don't recognise the fretwork as Lachenal. It has some distinctive little features (circled) that I'm sure I've seen somewhere before, but I'm damned if I remember where!
  7. Sorry Julia - this one has now found a new home in Ireland.
  8. I had a 48k Lachenal with H Boyd fretwork a couple of years ago...
  9. They do now show the RH end, and there's no 'H Boyd' in the fretwork. Does this indicate that it was sold by Boyd, but not made for them?
  10. Call me a self-destructive fool, but I've reduced my asking price for this one by £100. It's a cracking example of an earlyish 34k Lachenal - the sort with solid rosewood ends and wide, comfortable buttons. I've made and fitted new 7-fold bellows, and reamed and bushed the button-holes to keep it quiet and smooth. In addition, it has new pads, valves, bushes and straps, and all the woodwork has been rubbed down and refinished in French polish. It is, of course, tuned to modern concert pitch. It looks good, and plays wonderfully - fast, bright and loud. In fact, I defy you to find a better example. Finally, it also comes with a note of provenance, and the RAF Navigator's wing badge from a previous owner who was sadly killed in action during WWII As always, if you're within striking distance of Norwich, you're welcome to come and have a squeeze. If not, get in touch anyway, and we can probably arrange a trial without obligation. NOW ONLY £1750
  11. I really can't imagine what inspired Mr Lachenal to add a whistle and a duck-call to his perfectly good 32-key instruments, but this is one of those. I suppose it keeps small children amused... Anyway, it's quite easy to ignore those two buttons, since they are located at the dusty end of the G row on either hand. Apart from the novelty keys, this is a cracker of an Anglo... one of those with ends cut from beautifully-figured solid rosewood rather than veneer. The buttons on these were normally un-bushed, but I have reamed and bushed the buttonholes to keep the action quiet and smooth. I have also made and fitted new 7-fold bellows. The downside is that the extra fold means it will no longer fit in its original case - but it probably deserves something better anyway. As usual, I have replaced all pads, valves , bushes and straps, stripped and French polished the woodwork, and tuned it to modern concert pitch. In short, it's a lovely example of the breed - loud, agile, and a pleasure to play. One more thing: it comes complete with an RAF Navigator's wing badge from the uniform of Charles Freebairn, a previous owner who was killed in action. The vendor thought it should stay with the instrument, and I agree. I'm asking £1850 for this one, and as always, if you're within striking distance of Norwich, you're welcome to come and give it a squeeze.
  12. Hi Geoff, Using Bob Tedrow's method, I make bellows of any size using cylindrical jigs - most recently, a big baritone set for Theo Gibb. Geometry being what it is, you don't actually need a jig with 6 or 8 sides... just a tube of the appropriate size. This, of course, applies only to bellows of symmetrical shape. For asymmetric bellows, a custom-made jig would be indispensable, and frankly, it's not worth making one when it would probably never be used again!
  13. Comprehensively restored, with new 7-fold gold-tooled bellows, this is as nice a 38k Jeffries as you could hope to find. As always, the restoration work includes new pads, valves, bushes and straps. The woodwork has been stripped and refinished in French polish, and the instrument has been tuned to modern concert pitch (A=440Hz). It's not unusual to find a fairly eccentric keyboard layout with Jeffries instruments, but I have ironed out most of the eccentricities in this one, and restored it to a more typical layout (though one or two oddities remain!) You'll find a full diagram of the layout among the pictures below. Under normal circumstances, I would invite you to come and have a squeeze in Norwich. But since that's clearly not an option at present, let me know if you're interested, and let's see if we can arrange a no-obligation trial. I'm asking £4250.
  14. Of course... I really must resist the temptation to post messages before I'm fully awake!
  15. Bear in mind that English thumbstraps are composite devices, made up of a sandwich of canvas, chamois or felt, and thin leather, all enclosing the L-shaped steel or brass former.
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